The future of travel tech is HTML5, QR codes and NFC

The future of travel technology is firmly rooted in HTML5, QR codes and NFC according to Ayan Banerjee, a senior consultant at the enterprise solutions and consulting firm MindTree.

In an interview at this week’s Travel Distribution Summit Europe, Banerjee said that these three pieces of technology will be running everything from hotel rooms to ancillary sales very soon.

HTML5 is already providing media rich user experiences across multiple platforms and helping to augment mobile applications.

“Looking at the current mobile apps, they all give the basic functionality of booking, checking in, flight status and alerts,” said Banerjee.

“The question is how we enrich it further. At this point in time we are giving control and convenience to the traveller just during the time of travel, but are we giving services at the destination?

“When people visit places they are unfamiliar with, it is important to provide them with services to make the trip better.

“This could be as simple as recommending restaurants that match the traveller’s taste. The idea is to provide services from end to end, rather than just during flights.”

That is where HTML5 comes in. It can provide an app like experience but, because it is web based, contains far more information.

That way, users can get all the information they need on the small screen of their smart phone. Along with HTML5 Banerjee said QR codes will become a far more important part of the travel experience. 

These barcodes may soon be providing TV channel listings in hotels, in flight entertainment instructions on airplanes and itineraries on cruise ships.

Banerjee said QR codes are the perfect way to provide travellers with more information about their surroundings. They are also a great compliment to the new mobility and flexibility provided by NFC (Near Field Communication).

While QR codes provide users with outside information, NFC provides the users details of their immediate surroundings. This could come in the form of no touch payments, keyless room entry and customised settings in hotel rooms.

Because NFC can transfer data quickly without actually touching anything, the possibilities are limitless. Users could waive their phone over a pad in a hotel and simultaneously check in, pay and setthe room temperature, television and hot water settings in their room.

All this could be done simply by storing an individual’s preferences on their phone where it is available to be read at the necessary time.

There are very few companies that are currently making use of all these technologies but Banerjee said he believes Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Hilton are leading the travel technology pack. All three have been using QR codes for some time and they are dabbling in other new technologies.

Banerjee said this could give them a distinct edge as people become more dependent on technology to navigate their everyday lives.

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